Monday, February 25, 2013

Legal Ethics 101

Despite their bad reputation, lawyers serve a valuable function in our society. We need them to keep our society working. I truly believe this. (I wouldn't be attending law school myself if I didn't.) And I know as well as anyone how hard it is to decide on the ethically correct course of action when you're working on complicated cases with lots of parties involved. But there is one basic ethical rule that I think every lawyer can clearly agree on--- What this guy did. Don't do this. Just don't.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Why I Like July Talk

You know that one pop band  that we hear on the radio every now and then. You know, the one that combines a woman with a voice that's high enough to be a member of the Grateful Dead (insert drum roll here) and a man who sounds like what happens when you cross Darth Vader with a six-pack-a-day cigarette habit.  Perhaps you heard this formula in songs like "Barbie Girl" by Aqua and "The Sailing Song" by a band whose name is literally not worth looking up (but may also have been Aqua).  July Talk is like those bands with one stunning innovation: Their music is actually good and worth listening to. Seriously, if these guys don't take off, I will give up on humanity.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tom Waits Tuesday

I was gonna play one of  his more recent works but then I realized that this old standard had more mass appeal (and was less likely to unsettle perspective employers.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

True Confessions

Is it a bad sign that I want to see this movie for the bit at the end of the trailer?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Emergency Broadcast System in Action

Thank you, hackers. The damage you caused by breaking federal law and potentially causing a panic is more than made up for by the gift of laughter.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Only Interesting Scene From Adventures in Babysitting--

-- occurs in the  first minute of this scene.

You don't even have to listen to the song that comes next. It's just the implications of that scene.

Look at it this way. You're a blues player. You're playing a concert to a packed house which presumably you've done hours of painstaking rehearsing and spent mention years of practicing on your instruments. Suddenly, a group of complete strangers burst onto stage obviously confused and having no idea where they are.

I would not blame you for being angry at these people. I would, however, be somewhat confused if your demand was that these people, who for all you know have no musical experience whatsoever, sing a blues number and refuse to let them leave until they do.

There could only be only one reason for that behavior. That, over years of playing, you have gradually come to believe with a zeal reserved only for cult leaders that it is you duty,your God-given moral obligation, to do one thing and one thing only: Make sure that not one person --- NOT! ONE! SINGLE! SOLITARY! PERSON!--- leaves that nightclub without singing the blues.

I guess what I'm saying is it must really suck to be the janitor there.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

If I Ran the Zoo: Dr. Fate

(Once again, I' going to return to my feature where I describe how I would write my favorite comic book characters in the unlikely event that a publisher allows me near their properties).

Dr. Fate is the quintessential example of a character who was never written as well as when he first showed up.  One of the first magic based superheroes, he is today primarily most for having a cool design and being  a precursor of Marvel Comics Dr. Strange. As a result, ever since the silve age, there has been an unfortunate tendency to write Dr. Fate exactly like he was  on off-brand version of Dr. Strange.  (Note that I am talking about the original Dr. Fate. The successors to the mantel were pretty much all off-brand version of Dr. Strange.)

However, reading the original stories it's suprising, how much of a debt the original Dr. Fate stories owed to H.P. Lovecraft. Fate's opponents not only included the traditional evil socerors but mad scientists, tentacled abominations, and Lovecraft's race of Deep Ones. (As Lovecraft's work were still in copyright at this time, they were called something like "Fish Men of Nyarl-Amen"but they were clearly Deep Ones. The new name itself is most likely a reference to Nyarlathotep, yet another of Lovecraft's monstrosities.)

To me, this suggests that the problem with Dr. Fate is not the character. Rather, it is the stories that are told about the character. Modern day Dr. Fate stories simply tend to focus on the superhero aspects of the character, and while those are important, the result is that Dr. Fate come off as something we have seen before.

In my opinion, Dr. Fate works best when there is a strong horror undercurrent to the character. Instead of being retreads of Dr. Strange villains (Fate's archenemy these days is pretty much Baron Mordo with the serial numbers filed off), his villains should be genuinely disturbing and alien. (Strange's villains, while awesome and definitely strange looking, had more in common, behavior wise, with Dr. Doom then Cthulu.) A good Doctor Fate story should do more than be a good superhero story: it should also  scare the audience.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Depressing Thought for the Day

I discovered that there are multiple videos on the internet depicting grown men dressed as Jar-Jar Binks dancing to "Gungan Style." (If you don't know whet this is a reference to you are either hopelessly out of touch with popular culture or are reading this article ten years after I wrote it.) Exactly zero of them are worth watching.  I was going to inflict them on you good people but I decided you might want to hear some decent music instead.